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Does our Rauner-Trump fact-check still hold up?
Side-by-side of Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan Side-by-side of Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan

Side-by-side of Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan

Marc Filippino
By Marc Filippino October 12, 2016

A new attack ad from a Democratic Super PAC is making a familiar claim: Gov. Bruce Rauner supports Donald Trump.

The 30-second ad was paid for by the PAC Lift Illinois. The video includes clips of Trump's controversial comments on women, immigrants and the disabled. Following every comment is a portion of a March press conference in which Rauner says he will endorse the Republican nominee, even if it is Trump. (Note: This took place before Trump was officially nominated.)

The ad finishes off by saying, "If Bruce Rauner and Illinois Republicans support Donald Trump after all that, why would we support them?"


If this attack sounds familiar, it's because this claim has been made before. It was the subject of a fact-check for PolitiFact Illinois, Reboot Illinois' partnership with the Pulitzer-prize winning team at PolitiFact. Back in August, House Speaker Michael Madigan accused Rauner of supporting Trump. He said:

"Bruce Rauner is of record that he will fully support the Trump candidacy. It's documented. It’s available." 

We ranked Madigan's statement Mostly True. Rauner distanced himself, but he never went as far as to officially renounce his support for Trump. Because of that, his only definitive statement was from his March statement, "I support the Republican Party's nominee."

Change in attitude?

In the months after making his initial statement vowing to support the Republican nominee -- months during which Trump officially secured the nomination -- Rauner skipped the Republican National Convention and called the rhetoric of the election "ugly" and "weird."

Recently a reporter at an event in Starved Rock State Park asked him to comment on the tape of Trump talking about sexually assaulting women. According to audio provided to Politico, he said: "...the rhetoric in this presidential campaign, appalling, disgusting. And as a father, as a husband, the language is vile and repulsive and I condemn it in the strongest possible way."

But when asked if he still supports Trump, he said, "I've made my comment."

As he has done previously, Rauner addressed the question with neither a denunciation nor an endorsement. Had Madigan made his statement today, we'd still rate it Mostly True.

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Our Sources

Phone interview, Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, Aug. 2, 2016

WGN, "Illinois governor says he’ll support Trump if he’s nominee" March 21, 2016

Chicago Tribune, "Gov. Bruce Rauner won't attend GOP convention or endorse Trump for president" May 6, 2016

Chicago Tribune, "Absent Rauner gets shoutout as Illinois Republicans cast Trump convention votes" July 19, 2016

Politico, "Rauner Snubs Trump during visit to Chicago" July 12, 2016 

Chicago Tribune, "Rauner 'horrified' by 'ugly, nasty, weird' rhetoric in presidential race." March 28, 2016

Phone interview, University of Illinois professor Brian Gaines, Aug. 10, 2016

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Does our Rauner-Trump fact-check still hold up?